My colleagues on the Yale Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility and I read with great interest the article by guest columnists Anna Robinson-Sweet, Luke Studebaker and Mac Herring regarding the conversations last year between the ACIR and the Undergraduate Organizing Committee regarding the labor practices at HEI Hospitality LLC (“Irresponsible investing,” Oct. 26). As the columnists observe, the ACIR met several times over the course of the year with the UOC on this issue, and we held a public meeting open to everyone in the Yale community at which HEI was the main topic of discussion.
After these meetings with the UOC and others, and after considerable discussion, analysis and investigation on our own, the ACIR concluded that there was not sufficient factual support to justify requesting the Yale Corporation Committee on Investor Responsibility to take any action with respect to HEI. In other words, after much reflection, we respectfully — and unanimously — disagreed with the position advocated by the UOC with respect to HEI.
Of course, as I think we made clear during our months of meetings and discussion, the ACIR not only respects the position taken by the UOC, but we also are grateful to the members in the UOC with whom we worked for the thoughtful and well-informed nature of the discourse. All of us on the ACIR agreed that our conversations with the UOC were constructive, civil and in keeping with the best traditions of the University.
We at ACIR hope that these conversations continue. In particular, if the UOC has new facts or information about HEI’s labor practices, we hope that they will share those with us.
Our main objection with the column is the assertion that ACIR “has been unresponsive” in any way to the UOC. While we did not provide the UOC with the response they wanted, I think that, on reflection, the UOC would agree that the ACIR was actually extremely responsive to their initiatives.
The writer is the Sam Harris Professor of Corporate Law, Corporate Finance and Securities Law at Yale Law School and the Chair of the Yale Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility.